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Marching across Copenhagen with the WAGGGS led by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden

A POINT OF AWARENESS - Preciosa S. Soliven - The Philippine Star

COPENHAGEN, Denmark— Now, I am a member of the Olave Baden-Powell Society that supports international Scouting and Guiding. Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte of Denmark herself, in the presence of His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, welcomed me and ten other members from Japan, Canada, United States and Denmark to the Olave Baden-Powell Society, and the Baden-Powell Fellowship Presentation at The Hall of Knights, Christiansborg Castle last May 24, 2014. I was seated with Queen Sylvia of Sweden.

King Carl XVI is the Honorary Chairman of the World Scouts Foundation. He married Queen Silvia, nee Sommerlath, who has a Brazilian mother and a German father. They met at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.

Princess Benedikte is the second daughter of King Frederick IX of Denmark and Ingrid of Sweden. She is the youngest sister of the reigning Queen of Denmark, Margrethe II, and the older sister of Queen Anne-Marie of Greece. Prince Frederick, the oldest son of Queen Margrethe II, also met his wife Mary Donaldson at the Olympic Games of Australia in 2004. They now have 4 children on the 10th anniversary of their marriage.

Princess Benedikte is the patron of the Olave Baden-Powell Society. Her committee includes prominent representatives from business and charitable foundations in Denmark, and its meetings are attended by Chief Scouts, and Chief Commissioners of all Scout and Guide Associations in Denmark. For more than ten years, the work of the Committee has focused on projects in Eastern and Central Europe. Currently, African projects in Tunisia and Sudan have been prioritized. Passionate about environment, agriculture and technology, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden visited Tacloban recently, accompanied by World Organization of Scout Movement Secretary General Scott A. Teare.

Creating leadership talents among the young

Creating leadership talents is a main vision of the Girl Guides and Scouts, projecting their leadership and higher social responsibility. This is the reason why Danish business and charity foundations within three decades have given considerable funds to support the development of Scouting and Guiding.

The keys to developing Scouting and Guiding are recruitment and training of volunteer and professional leaders, in close cooperation with the two world organizations within Scouting and Guiding: The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). The Philippines belong to the Asia Pacific Region of both organizations. There are 700,000 Filipino girls scout members nationwide from both public and private schools.

According to Dr. Vibeke Riemer, president of the Olave Baden-Powell Society “A high priority for the project is of course to create and maintain a pool of skilled Danish leadership trainers, who are capable of participating in international training activities. The Trainers Pool meets three times a year to improve their skills together, interchange their experiences and best-practice from the training sessions.”

About the toolbox

Dr. Riemer added “The Leadership Toolbox contains eight tools: 1.) Training on How to Become a Trainer; 2.) Training to Improve Leadership; 3.) Forum for Development and Revision of a Training System; 4.) Development and Revision of Training system; 5.) Handouts for New Local Guide/Scout Leaders; 6.) Teamwork Know-How; 7.) Long-Term Human Resources Planning Management; 8.) Recruiting New Leaders.”

The leadership Capacity Project was carried out in collaboration with the national associations and organizations in Latvia, Macedonia, Slovakia, and Ukraine. The objective was to give these Guide and Scout leaders better tools to select, train and support volunteer leaders in these countries.

Warm welcome by the famous Tivoli guards, Harlequin and Columbine

With the Rosy cheek 10- 16-year-old Tivoli Children Marching Band providing music, Princess Benedikte and chairman of the World Scout Foundation welcomed all of us Olave Baden-Powell Society (OBPS) participants to the welcome reception of the 67th Baden-Powell Fellowship at the glittering Nimb Restaurant of Tivoli.

The champagne warmed us as we got acquainted with one another with the 140C chill outside. We were further privileged to see Harlequin and Columbine from The Peacock Pantomime Theater. They danced before our eyes as they teased the grinning clown. Anders Hassilager, chairman of the Program, received an exciting itinerary for the successive days. Then we chose to dine among 33 Tivoli restaurants.

The following day, three tours were made available: I The Green Capital 2014 (architecture, design, the offshore turbine park), II Vikings and Royal Tombs (Ship museum at Roskilde), III Work of Famous Danish Architects and Designers.

With my highschool principal Lumen Duran, I chose Bus Tour I, which explained the building of the famous architect, Arne Jacobsen, Martin Nyrop (1894-1905 City Hall of Copenhagen, the Danish Design Center), Carl Jacobsen (1842-1914 Ny Carlsberg, Glyptotek Museum) and a visit to the harbor district of Orestaden, which was transformed into very modern residential apartments for families. With lunch included, we boarded a yacht to see the offshore wind turbine park “Middelgrunden” outside Copenhagen. Anders Hasselager, Senior advisor Energy Technology as our tour guide noted that saving energy has been the most important political issue in Danish politics.

It started with the oil crisis in 1973. Totally dependent on oil and coal from abroad, the state banned all excessive energy use of energy. Driving was prohibited on Sundays, shops were left dark after closing time and many trains, planes and buses were cancelled. Thus many people formed permanent energy-saving habits. A large group of people responded with enthusiasm and persistent interest in energy matters blaming the government for taking too little action. Through a combination of laws, taxes and voluntary renunciation, a whole new set of initiatives to reduce pollution and “energy gluttony” arose. Today, there are 20 turbines, many are owned by the citizens of Copenhagen. Danish energy from these is sold to other European countries. Windmill parks were added to the landscape. The yacht passed buildings and places along the harbor, including the Little Mermaid, The Opera House and the official Flag of Denmark.

Living examples of scout leadership that helped mankind

At the magnificent glass building of the Confederation of Danish Industry, we were welcomed by the CDI Chairman Thomas Bustrup. The keynote speech was given by Mr. James R. Turley, retired global CEO of Ernst & Young Inc. The previous night I was seated down beside him at dinner at the table of King Carl XVI Gustaf at the famous Langelinie (Little Mermaid) Pavilion.

Mr. Turley recalled how he was a scout in childhood until the age of 15. Educated at Rice University at Dallas Texas, he joined the famous Ernst & Young, where he rose to his presidency. By the time he retired at 65 years, he had 175,000 personnel from both the high and low ranks, to whom he modestly attributed his success. He then stated, ”Scouting makes leaders. What are the characteristics of leadership? A high degree of integrity, trustworthiness, and respect for others. These are what make good “enthusiastic teamwork.”       

Mr. Rex Tillerson, president and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp. recalls that he has lived by the Scout slogan “Do a good deed each day.” It’s the principal way to inspire the family, the classroom and community. His policy and practice is to instill among the EXXON employees volunteerism. Turbulent crisis provides the test of leadership. One must have a clear view of the landscape and thus separate the winners from the losers. If your company is passionate about developing tomorrow’s leaders, you can engage in Guiding and Scouting by joining it as a leader or supporter, becoming the Baden-Powell world Fellowship and Olave Baden-Powell Society like the fifty five banks, corporations, foundations, family donors in Denmark.

Marching off ‘vor frue plads’ by foot with the king

Led by a Marching Band of children and a few adults in white and gold uniform, we joined the final day activity with King Carl XVI Gustaf who was in full olive green scout uniform with knee pants and Danish flag as kerchief. About a hundred of us together with scout and guide leaders and trainors followed the rhythm of the drums “vor frue plads” by foot starting from the Tivoli Park, the Central Railway Station stopping traffic while all the tourists and local Danes crowded the sidewalk to see the excited His Majesty “lead the scout pack.”

This is the peak season of springtime tourists in Copenhagen. Every corner of the city is dotted with ancients artistic spires as well as ultra modern shaped glass buildings: 34 tourist landmarks including 14 museums, 7 churches, the University, Royal Library, Amelienborg, Rosenborg, Christianborg castles and palaces.

We followed the big avenues leading to the Radhuset (city hall), crossing over to the university area until Skt. Petri Kirke (St. Petri Church). The march ended by the Lyceum (high school) across the church where a hundred scouts from primary grades to high school awaited us to personally do a brief tour of the surroundings. King Carl together with Princess Benedikte concluded the extraordinary experience on the school steps with the former addressing the young scouts and making them laugh. The local Danish we met thought our experiences dining and even marching closely with their Royal Highness so incredible for they can’t even dream to be a meter away from them in their lifetime.

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